Sometimes when you are down, something wonderful comes to the rescue. Who knew it would be in the shape of a Monkey Menace?
You have dreams. You wish things out into the universe. You plant seeds. Sometimes, things take a long time. So long, in fact, that you have forgotten they are there, somewhere, still growing. So long that when you get to them they look completely different than you ever thought and yet are better than anything you could have dreamt up. If you had told me when I was 24 that at 38 I’d be working in a job where most of the clothes used have a ton of spandex; that I would be teaching (I had never wanted to teach anything); that people would describe my class as Church; and that I would end up playing Indian spiritual music on an accordion looking box willingly- talking about gods with elephant heads… I would have been like- shut the front door! You know? That really wasn’t in the vision. And yet… And yet… It is so much more awesome than I could ever have wanted or dreamed.
Three months ago I was at dinner with friends in Boston. I had been working at their studio teaching. As dinner dwindled down, my friend’s partner Gabriel, grabbed my hand and pulled me into the living room where there was a beautiful assortment of instruments, in their midst a harmonium. He picked up a wondrous mandolinish looking instrument and started strumming. We started playing. It was love at first sound. My mind and heart were blown right open. Eventually, we drew in everyone who was there. An impromptu kirtan. I left Boston the next morning knowing something had changed.
A week later, I called him, and asked if he might want to come down to NYC and lay down some tracks. Much to my surprise, he said yes. Now, Justin, our drummer, had come into my life years earlier. A kirtan and cacao lover and great hugger. We were fast friends upon meeting out on the grass at Kripalu. He comes and plays in class at pure whenever he is in town. We needed some beats so it was a no brainer. For some kismet reason, we were able to make the same days work- a crazy thing these days. They came down. The Menace was born.
For years I’ve been playing with you, in class, incorporating anyone who will play or come up and sing with me in a rotating band I like to call The Twisted Sisters. It has been so sweet. One of my favorite constants in my life. For many years though, I have been secretly wishing I would meet musicians who share my love of mantra and the kind of bhava (mood) that I like to extend through it. Music is so intimate. It is an extension of my spirit. So this coming together has to be organic. As in love, finding a good fit is somewhat mystical and all sensitive to timing.
In life, there is no going backwards. We are a forward moving energy. My Alexander teacher, the wise, late- Frank Ottiwell- always told me that we move in a spiral. Those moments in life when you feel like you are moving backwards, you are still moving up the spiral, you might just be looking at its backside. That’s why it feels challenging. That always stuck with me.
Some of the toughest times in my life have also been the most prolific. These last six months of stillness after the accident have been just that. I guess I’m an artist at heart. It has felt often like I am slipping backwards into a bit of a pit of despair, and yet, I know that a lot has been planted and is brewing. I have many gifts and surprises yet in store for you. That’s the good news. The work never ceases.
Music has always been a part of my life. I am better through music. I give better with music. It is in my blood. It’s part of what I have to offer. To that end, I have a special favor to ask you. Miles and The Monkey Menace has started a Kickstarter page to raise the funds to finally make the album that you all have been asking for for years. Click HERE to check it out! Share it with anyone who might be interested. Together we can make it happen. Once we start recording, I’m bringing all of you in to sing. So start warming up them vocal chords. Hahahahaha!
Thank you always for your support, yogis! And thanks to all who have been coming to the Bhakti Center. We continue every Wednesday I am here. Check my schedule for Feb, I’ll be away a bit. When I’m gone, you can now enjoy my classes online. Check it out in the menu.